Who are Samaritans?

The Samaritans were a mixed race, originating from the Jews who were not deported during exile and from the Gentile, foreign colonists who were brought to Palestine during exile. When the Jews returned from exile and started building the temple, the Samaritans had put obstacles to the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem. This had aggravated the strained relationship between both. Jews considered any contact with the Samaritans as source of defilement. Jesus, however, is transcending that tradition and takes the initiative to converse with the Samaritan woman.

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